New victory against mining giant Glencore’s anti-union practices

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The Quebec Superior Court orders Labour Administrative Tribunal to consider all possible measures to reverse unlawful dismissal of security guards

MONTREAL, April 04, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In the dispute over Glencore’s elimination of its Raglan Mine security the Superior Court has rejected the provincial labour administrative tribunal’s (Tribunal administratif du travail -TAT) previous decision, which had refused any possibility of reinstatement after the illegal dismissal of the security guards. Glencore had eliminated the security service positions after United Steelworkers union members refused the company’s proposed collective agreement.

In its 2022 decision, the labour tribunal had found that Glencore had illegally dismissed the security officers and that the multinational had indeed interfered in the union’s affairs and obstructed its activities. However, the tribunal did not order the reinstatement of the workers, instead leaving the parties to agree on another form of redress, adding that it could rule on this issue if necessary.

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The Superior Court allowed the judicial review, which dealt solely with the issue of reinstatement, finding that the TAT had erred in the way it had set aside reinstatement as a remedy for the wrongs caused by the wrongful dismissal. The case will now return to the TAT to determine the appropriate remedy.

“This is an important legal victory. It sends a clear signal to this multinational: Glencore can’t make a mockery of workers’ union rights by abolishing their jobs in retaliation for refusing an employer’s offer. It doesn’t work like that in Quebec, and even mining giants must respect Quebec laws. If Glencore hoped to get away with dragging the case through the courts, they underestimated the Steelworkers. We will support our members to the end against anti-union practices,” said United Steelworkers Quebec Director Dominic Lemieux.

Nicholas Marchand, president of the security officers’ local, is delighted with this victory in the long legal saga. He and his colleagues had been laid off in March 2021, a few days after a union meeting vote rejecting the employer’s collective agreement offer. Glencore had used the elimination of the security service as an excuse.

“It’s awful what Glencore has put us through since 2021, we’re happy with this new legal victory. It confirms that the law is on our side. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, even if we know that Glencore can stretch this out in court for a long time yet. We’re lucky to be able to count on the United Steelworkers union, which won’t give up,” said Marchand.

The employer has 30 days to seek permission to appeal the ruling. “We invite Glencore to behave as a good corporate citizen by respecting this ruling. Our members have already suffered too much from their anti-union practices,” said Lemieux.

The United Steelworkers union (USW), affiliated to the FTQ, is the largest private-sector union in Quebec. It represents over 60,000 workers in all sectors of the economy.

For more information, please contact:
United Steelworkers union / Syndicat du Métallos Communications Department :
Clairandrée Cauchy, 514 774-4001, [email protected]

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